Trust your doctor, not Wikipedia

| May 28, 2014

The Internet is wonderful and we find Wikipedia interesting and helpful in a lot of ways. But, this one is a no brainer. While we value second opinions in medical treatment, it’s best to seek out those opinions in situations in which you can dialogue with a real person.

Trust your doctor, not Wikipedia, say scientists

By Pippa Stephens

Health reporter, BBC News

DoctorScientists compared Wikipedia entries with peer-reviewed medical research

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Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia, contains errors in nine out of 10 of its health entries, and should be treated with caution, a study has said.

Scientists in the US compared entries about conditions such as heart disease, lung cancer, depression and diabetes with peer-reviewed medical research.

They said most articles in Wikipedia contained “many errors”.

Wikimedia UK, its British arm, said it was “crucial” that people with health concerns spoke to their GP first.

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From a public health standpoint, patients should not use [Wikipedia] as a primary resource because those articles do not go through the same peer-review process as medical journals”

Dr Robert Hasty

Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine, North Carolina

Open-access ‘concerns’

The online encyclopaedia is a charity, and has 30 million articles in 285 languages.

It can be edited by anybody, but many volunteers from the medical profession check the pages for inaccuracies, said Wikimedia UK.

The open-access nature has “raised concern” among doctors about its reliability, as it is the sixth most popular site on the internet, the US authors of the research, published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, said.

Up to 70% of physicians and medical students use the tool, they say.

via BBC News – Trust your doctor, not Wikipedia, say scientists.

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